Essay Film Festival 2018: Montgomery Clift documentary (work-in-progress session)- Report and Interview with the Film-Makers

by Danielle Capretti

There was palpable excitement amongst the audience for a work-in-progress screening of a Montgomery Clift documentary at the BIMI on 27th March 2018.  Would they just be viewing selected clips, introduced by the filmmakers?  Or perhaps even more?  When the audience learnt they would be the first people beyond the film’s collaborators to preview this work, their anticipation increased a few notches.

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Essay Film Festival 2018: Thomas Elsaesser

We are happy to present a recording of a discussion between Thomas Elsaesser and Erica Carter (King’s College London) following our screening of his film The Sun Island on 28th March 2018.

In his first film, The Sun Island, Thomas Elsaesser, eminent film theorist and film historian, documents the life and professional career of his grandfather, Martin Elsaesser (1884-1957), who was architect and chief city planner in Frankfurt from 1925 to 1932. The recent and controversial acquisition of the latter’s landmark building, the Frankfurt Central Market, by the European Central Bank as the site of their new headquarters, allows the film to draw attention to the importance of Martin Elsaesser’s place in the city’s architectural history, and to the neglect of his legacy.

But the film also revolves around Martin’s private life, and notably his wife Liesel’s long-standing liaison with landscape architect Leberecht Migge. Home movies and photographs are combined with personal letters and contemporary interviews to create an intimate portrait of these relationships, and of the protagonists’ collective attempt to create a self-sufficient utopia on Sun Island during the crucial years between the Weimar Republic and World War Two.


Further Information:

1. Martin Elsaesser Stiftung PDF

2. Review of The Sun Island

3. Thomas Elsaesser website

Mark Rappaport for Garageland


In 2016, pioneering video essayist Mark Rappaport presented some of his latest work, never before seen in the UK, at the Essay Film Festival. The filmmaker has carved out his place in the heart of cinephiles everywhere with his frequently wry explorations of film and society.

Old Hollywood – Gregory Peck, Ingrid Bergman, Deborah Kerr, among many others – often finds itself the subject of his gaze, and by the 90s he had established himself as a distinct voice with his films Rock Hudson’s Home Movies (1992) and From the Journals of Jean Seberg (1995). By now, Rappaport has long mastered the art of forging new narratives out of found footage, with a dry, critical Brooklyn-accented narration that both guides and grounds his audience in a celebration of cinephilia.

Recently, the filmmaker sat down with Garageland where he spoke to James Payne about his career, popular culture, and his approach to storytelling. Read the full interview here: garageland